When Arihara Tsubasa enters Rigahama Municipal High School and learns that it has no baseball club, she starts up the Girls' Baseball Club on her own. Drawn to the club are girls who have never played baseball before, girls who once played it but quit, and girls who are constantly tackling great challenges. The Rigahama Girls' Baseball Club races through the trials of youth, periodically clashing and quarreling, but supporting each other all the way! And so begins the hottest summer the world has ever known...
Can or Can't
Let's Work Up a Good Sweat
Though We May Stand at a Crossroads
Our First Game!
What We Do From Now On
The Smiling Lost Child
Looking Ahead to Summer
Having Each Others' Backs, and Having Fun
Wings on Your Back
The National Tournament Begins
The Hottest Summer Ever
This was a very fun show to watch from beginning to end. I don't have a lot of experience watching anime, so I can't really compare it to many other series, but I do have a lot of experience playing baseball (which is why I chose to watch this in the first place) and I want to say I was pleasently surprised with the baseball portions of the show. I wasn't expecting them to adapt baseball as well as they did, they showed realistic practice methods, and although some of the improvements may have been a tad too fast, it wasn't wholly unbelievable. As far as the characters, I really loved all of them, and I thought the team dynamic was outstanding. The way the relationships grew throughout the story was a lot of fun, and the way the girls treated each other was one of the many highlights. The only complaint is I wish there were more episodes, because I would have loved to see more of everyone. A few of the many aspects I really appreciated were Tsubasa's incredible attitude, Ukita gaining confidence throughout the season, and the team's involved learning that friendship was actually a benefit and not a detriment on the diamond (which I wholly agree with). I am very surprised by the other ratings, but if you love baseball I would suggest watching this, because it was fun, exciting, adorable, etc. Based on how it ended, I don't really see a season 2 as likely, but I would really enjoy watching a season 2 if it were ever produced.
I have no idea why I chose to watch Cinderella Nine. I'm not typically into sports anime, seeing that I have seen duds (Try Knights) as well as impressive anime (Yowamushi Pedal) in this genre. But in the end, I would stake Cinderella Nine as the anime twin sister to A League of Their Own. The best thing about Cinderella Nine is the multifaceted characters. It all centers around Tsubasa who wishes to form a girls baseball team at her school, Sato High. She has had some good fortune in her sport, winning a national tournament years ago. But Sato doesn't even have a boys team, so student council pressure tries to derail the team from even forming. Tomoe is Tsubasa's bestie, who helped Tsubasa through a post-championship depression and kept her in baseball. Akane is the typical clumsy, shy girl who has no talent for baseball but has the courage to try (her at the wall catch in a tourney game was a personal triumph). Nozaki has failed in sports in middle school and is hesitant to try high school baseball. Tsubasa recognizes Nozuki's left-handedness is not a disadvantage and is ideal for positions as first base and relief pitcher. Shinonome is the hard-nosed 'going to be a pro' type who believes Tsubasa's school team is second rank compared to club ball but appreciates Tsubasa's encouragement even though she fails the club's try-outs. Maiko is a girl troubled by her dysfunctional family and constantly gets into trouble with the law; baseball gives her a better direction. Yoshimi is a born-cheerleader whom Tsubasa wishes to play the game and gain other people’s cheers. Kana is one of the student council who believes baseball is meaningless, until she sees how it changes lives. Nakano is a journalist who wants to write great news articles and discovers that she could easily become part of the story. Aoi is a mischievous girl with a mind of her own. With all these personalities, the key to understanding the series is the interplay of ideas and emotions as diverse girls become friends become a tight knit unit of ballplayers. But it centers on Tsubasa's laid-back out to enjoy the game more than win or lose it. This theme becomes defined in the eleventh episode where Sato High will play Seiko High, a team that Sato had their first practice and were thrashed. Coincidence will have these teams play the first game of round one. Coincidence will place these teams at the same hotel for the evening before game day. Captain Tsubasa chats with Captain Jinguji about their game philosophies. Tsubasa is playing for fun, while Jinguji is out to win at all costs and restore baseball glory for Seiko High. Guess which team suffers more from pressure. The symbolism in Cinderella Nine is fascinating. Akane is intrigued at a bunch of seedlings growing in the area beyond the outfield. The landowner tells her that these were sunflowers. A row of sunflower becomes Sato High's outfield fence. And this impressively tall plant will always face the sun, symbolic of Tsubasa's continual optimism that the girls who stumble about their practices will meld into a strong team. The animation does the job without being spectacular. But what the technique lacks in special effects it gains in intelligent story-telling. The usual scene is the static pose of girls in play as they practice their skills, often repeated scenes. But the tournament scenes were vividly colored and always in blur, as if static scenes cannot depict the action of a baseball team in the battle of gameplay. The opening theme is a lively scene of Tsubasa in the championship picture taken at her victory in national baseball play. It soon transitions into the eleven girls of the Sato High team. The opener ended with Tsubasa rushing off to school, remembering to smile as she closes the door. Then it transitions to the team clubroom as they go off to practice, first seven girls, then nine, then the full eleven ... ending with Tsubasa's angelic smile as she closes the door. It’s smart file footage … that isn’t. The series closes with some sense of satisfactory ending. Victory for Tsubasa is not the tournament trophy but the acceptance of the girls' team with more first-years ready to join the squad for the next season. It's a neat and tidy history of girls baseball in Japan which Taisho Baseball Girls portrayed in that anime, but more along the story of thirty years of the girls' game of roundball becoming more popular.
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